Horrible Things People Say

Now that the vacation high has abated a bit, I thought I’d regale you with another mind-bending edition of The Horrible Things People Say.

As I may have mentioned, I scarcely knew the folks that I trekked to Europe with. I’ve barely been a member of the group since January and there’s only so much opportunity to become familiar with someone in the breaks during weekly rehearsals. Couple that with the fact that I’m not overtly gregarious, particularly in unfamiliar settings, and it’s unsurprising that my fellow travelers were basically strangers. One of the greatest things about the trip was having the chance to transform those casual acquaintances into true friends.

Inevitably during the getting-to-know-you phase, the subject of marital status was broached. I’ve said it before, divorce is not an exclusive club; several people had their own harrowing tales of romantic woe. One lady made the comment that in her experience people who divorced after decade-plus relationships rarely, if ever, had anything long-term in their futures. She continued to say that it was more likely for women in this scenario to “run through a string of men” – a few months here, a couple years there, but the chance for lasting commitment and happiness was slim to none.

Ouch.

During another conversation someone asked if I was “looking.” I shared that I was enjoying window shopping, but I wasn’t looking to buy just yet. With absolute honesty, I told them that right now I’m happier alone than I’ve been in a very, very long time. To which the same said naysayer responded, “Get used to it.”

Double ouch.

To be clear – I like this woman – she’s smart and funny. She’s unreservedly candid. At the same time, she’s a therapist, so I did find it unexpected that she didn’t recognize her comments were potentially hurtful, uncouth and, in my opinion, narrow-minded. It’s also heartbreaking to realize that she truly believes it.

Perhaps she’s jaded, listening to her clients’ sad stories day in, day out. Perhaps she’s bitter, heart withered by her own tragic tale of unfulfilled dreams. I don’t know and didn’t ask.

However, social tip #254: even if you adamantly believe it, please do not make comments to the recently divorced lady that imply that she’s implicitly unlovable; that happy relationships are unobtainable. It’s just not nice.


One thought on “Horrible Things People Say

  1. Ouch indeed.
    I had a similar experience recently. My daughter had a school friend over for dinner. The friend’s mum came to collect her. When she arrived, she presented me with s bunch of flowers, saying ‘I thought you might like these, seen as you’ve probably not had any for months, now you’ve got nobody to buy them for you.’ Well intentioned but a real stinger.

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